Are you stuck in punishment mode?

Updated: Nov 24

I teach discipline without punishment, which is super appealing to most parents. Most of my clients have tried for years to reconcile their peaceful, compassionate parenting vision, with the crazy, out-of-control reality of children.


Boundaries and respect without anger, shame, lectures, or yelling? Yes please! Nurturing and empowering kids while also honoring our own needs and desires? Sign me up!


We love these ideas, but I have learned that most of us don't understand what non-punitive parenting actually is. What is the real difference between punitive and non-punitive parenting?





Punishments are about making someone feel bad about their mistakes. The message of punitive parenting is: "You made a mistake at that is bad, and you should feel badly about it. Now I'm going to help you deeply connect with how bad that was and how bad YOU are for having done it." Shame and anger are the outcomes of punitive parenting.

Non-punitive, restorative parenting accepts and even embraces mistakes as part of growing. Its message is: "You made a mistake and that is normal. Now let's take care of ourselves and the mistake, and make it right."


Doesn't that sound nice? I love it! I love it so much, I sometimes say it out loud to myself about my own mistakes, and before I decide what to do about my kids' mistakes. It feels great to look at life this way and I am an incredible mom when I'm thinking this.


But parenting this way is harder than it looks. It's hard to leave behind the feeling of failure and frustration that bubbles up when kids misbehave or don't succeed. It's hard to accept that mistakes are normal, that feeling bad doesn't help to make things right, or that blame and fault are useless. Most of us have grown up absorbing the exact opposite lessons, and this shift requires us to leave them behind in our lives as a whole, not just as parents.


Teaching non-punitive responses to kids' behavior is just the beginning for most parents.


Without help letting go of our old, shame-y thinking, those negative feelings keep bubbling up and we fall back into a punitive pattern even though that compassionate parenting vision still burns inside us.


This help is exactly what I give to parents. It's incredible to witness those old ideas fall away and the peaceful parent underneath finally step up. That parent is inside you too, I promise!


If you want some help in leaving punitive parenting behind, start with a free Discovery Call so I can learn about your struggles and give you a clear path to the dynamic you want to create. Book it now and begin your change.

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan